Strategically substituting "patient-centered" for "insurance company-controlled," House Speaker Paul Ryan on Tuesday claimed "we are doing an act of mercy by repealing this law and replacing it with patient-centered health care reform..." This did not go down well with a member of the House delegation from Massachusetts:
“I was struck last night by a comment that I heard made by Speaker Ryan, where he called this repeal bill ‘an act of mercy.’ With all due respect to our speaker, he and I must have read different Scripture Kennedy said as the House Energy and Commerce Committee dove into the details of the GOP effort.
“The one I read calls on us to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to shelter the homeless, and to comfort the sick.
“It reminds us that we are judged not by how we treat the powerful, but by how we care for the least among us,” said the Brookline Democrat and scion of the most famous Massachusetts political dynasty.
“There is no mercy in a system that makes health care a luxury. There is no mercy in a country that turns their back on those most in need of protection: the elderly, the poor, the sick, and the suffering. There is no mercy in a cold shoulder to the mentally ill,” he said, appearing to read from notes.
“This is not an act of mercy. It is an act of malice,” he said.
To the contrary, congressman. It is an act of mercy for some well-placed people as
Wealthy Americans — especially those households with incomes above $200,000 — would be better off under the bill primarily because they would no longer pay two major taxes levied as part of the Affordable Care Act.
One is 0.9 percent on taxpayers earning more than $200,000 in wages and salaries a year, or $250,000 for married couples. Those households must also pay a surcharge of 3.8 percent on income from several kinds of investments. Together, these taxes are projected to raise $346 billion over the next decade, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
It may not qualify as an act of mercy for the hungry, homeless, and the sick, but it promises to be a boon for the pale, or the color-deprived. Unintimdated by the risk of melanoma reportedly increasing by 75% for individuals who begin tanning before the age of 35.
The replacement health care plan proposed by Republicans would eliminate a 10% tax on indoor tanning services. The tax was introduced in 2010 as part of the Affordable Care Act. If the Republican plan becomes law, the tax will be phased out at the end of this year.
If "mercy" is the act of God in "not punishing us as our sins deserve," there will be no act of mercy bestowed by Speaker Ryan, reportedly an observant Catholic, and his fellow Republicans upon those 6 to 10 million undeserving Americans who will lose their health insurance. Citizens of those 32 other countries with universal health care, most of them with single-payer, face no such threat from the biggest. fake. ever.
Poet Wendell Berry once wrote "Rats and roaches live by competition under the laws of supply and demand; it is the privilege of human beings to live under the laws of justice and mercy." Not if Paul Ryan has his way.
Please return for scintillating commentary, following my brief hiatus, on March 13.